Friday, April 16, 2010

Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe

I'm on my own again here in New Mexico -- James' visit -- all too short -- has ended. James has gone home to our pups, birds, and cozy orange cat. So I figured I'd assemble a backroads tour of the roadside diners and cafes of New Mexico -- basically a what Kathy is Having for Dinner (and breakfast and lunch). Starting with The Bobcat Bite.
The Bobcat Bite, just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the kind of "mom and pop" diner travelers hungry for local, authentic experience dream of stumbling into. Good food, good prices and waitresses that greet regulars by name and treat every customer like an old friend waiting to happen.
Perched along historic route 66, the Bobcat has been serving it's trademark burgers since 1953 when owners of the nearby Bobcat Ranch opened this friendly roadhouse to entice hungry motorists. It's changed hands a few times over the years but I imagine this small (about 8 tables and a 9 seat counter) is pretty much as it stood when the doors first opened. The menu -- thick burgers cooked to order, a few steaks and sides like grilled jalapenos, vinegary cole slaw, and home fries -- is simple, executed well (the menus describes the cooking -- medium was indeed pink throughout and perfectly juicy a feat more high-end chefs often struggle with), and served quickly.
There are a few other things on the short menu -- a few steaks, pork chops, ham, and of course grilled cheese. On my first visit I took some local advice -- "the steaks are awesome, but we're famous for our burgers." I'll be back for the steaks.
Open Wednesday through Saturday this time of year (winter hours -- October to June), and always crowded, the biggest problem with the Bobcat Bite might be getting a table. List your name on the dry erase board by the front door and wait. It won't be long until you're digging into a New Mexico specialty, the green chili cheeseburger.

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